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Juvenile burglars caught in the act by deputy

| February 13, 2007 11:00 PM

The third time wasn't charmed for a pair of juvenile burglars caught in the act during an after-hours break-in at a Libby-area business.

The boys, 12 and 15, were arrested Friday night by a Lincoln County deputy sheriff performing a security check at the Kootenai Disposal building along U.S. Highway 2 South, which had already been burglarized twice in recent weeks.

"This was a perfect example of proactive patrol," said Sgt. Roger Guches of the sheriff's office.

Deputy Nate Scofield, who started work in January and is still in training, was on patrol with Deputy Dave Hall when he decided to check on the building at around 10:30 p.m., Guches said. American Thunder, an auto exhaust shop that shares the building with Kootenai Disposal, had been burglarized on Jan. 22 and again on Feb. 8. The culprits drank beer and used the shop's computer to download pornography from the Internet.

The computer was damaged and had to be repaired after the first incident, Guches said.

"It was like 127 different viruses that were downloaded," he said.

When Scofield pulled up to the building, he noticed that the blinds were pulled and thought something might be amiss. Taking a closer look, he heard something being knocked over inside and then saw two boys running out the back door, Guches said.

The boys were caught and confessed to all three burglaries, Guches said.

The sheriff's office is trying to do more patrols in areas where burglaries and other crimes have taken place, Guches said. Criminals will often become emboldened after they "get away with it" and return to the same area to commit more crimes, he said.

"If you're patient, it pans out," Guches said.

The boys are facing charges in juvenile court.